Ok, so I know it’s been a while, but I never could resist a Q&A with one of my fave authors, the lovely Mr Croxall. His new book, Anchor Leg, is brilliant and has all the makings of a classic sci-fi novel. Naturally, I wanted to know more about what had inspired him to write it and where he thinks the story might go next.
Where did the character of Seren come from? Is she based on anyone you know?
Oh, good question! I wonder if you agree that every character we write has a little bit of ourselves in them? However, beyond that tiny bit of me, I think Seren is very much her own beast. I had a few scenes in mind when I started writing the book and Seren just sort of grew from what I pictured her doing. My thought process was something like: if she acts like this she must have this kind of personality. Does that make sense?!
Why did you decide to make Seren a trainee?
As an apprentice I thought Seren could learn about the Relay (the fictional succession of habitable space stations that make up the book’s setting) as the reader did. I also started the book off with the idea that it might end up as a young-adult title, but eventually I realised I was writing something that was really pure sci-fi. By then Seren’s character was fully formed and I didn’t want to change/age her. Despite being seventeen (maybe that was always more new-adult than young-adult anyway) I think she works as she is. I just hope readers agree!
What is your favourite sci-fi film/book franchise? Did it have an influence on Anchor Leg?
Star Trek. Specifically, Star Trek: The Next Generation. I absolutely loved that show when I was growing up and, during my time at university, I re-watched every episode from all seven series in order – that was my proper education! I love the idea of space exploration and all the moral dilemmas it seems to throw up. In terms of influence, I definitely placed Seren into some morally dubious situations and had her (and other characters) question her actions. On top of that, there are endless little references and winks to all of my favourite sci-fi shows and films buried within the book. I hope readers have fun spotting them!
The prose of Anchor Leg feels so cinematic that I can imagine it easily as a movie. I know you sometimes write screenplays – would you perhaps adapt this one day as a screenplay?
I take that as a huge compliment, thank you! I also agree that Anchor Leg would make a decent screenplay; a lot of cutting/streamlining as a given of course. Alas, the zero-G stuff and special effects would cost a lot of money to film and, as an unknown writer, I would be very unlikely to get it made. You never know though, maybe one day!
How much did your degree studies/ interest in science influence this book?
I studied environmental science at university and some of that came into play in surprising ways towards the end of the book. My knowledge of space was actually not that strong (although the solar system obviously fascinates me) but I was lucky in that Steve Caddy – sci-fi author of the fabby In Exchange – was on hand to help me with all the technical detail. He set me straight where I got things horrifically wrong in early drafts.
If Anchor Leg was made into a film, who would you love to see in the main roles? Perhaps you’d even like to see it drawn as an anime!
Definitely unknowns for Seren and Abril, maybe established actors for some of the more senior crew. As for your anime idea, perfect! You’ve singlehandedly solved my budgetary constraint problems! If any animators are reading this, drop me a line!
Originally trained as an environmental scientist, Jack Croxall soon realised a life in the lab wasn’t for him. After discovering a passion for writing he’s now an award-winning author, scriptwriter and blogger. He tweets via @JackCroxall and blogs at http://www.jackcroxall.co.uk
Anchor Leg is available from Amazon now!